Many thanks to DailyEncouragement.net for this wonderful history about the Pilgrims!
Pilgrim – A pilgrim is one who goes on a very long journey.
Mayflower – 102 pilgrims; 41 Separatists, also called saints wanting freedom of religion. 61 Strangers - those who wanted to buy land, soldiers, etc. (30 Sailors making a total of 132 aboard)
Early 1600's – Persecution, imprisonment and death for those who separated themselves from King James rule of the church of England. The Pilgrims (separatists) found corruption and practices that were in conflict with the Holy Word of God and thus began to meet in secret so they could worship God according to the way the Bible told them. It was time to flee form England and find a place where they could worship freely.
Exiled in 1608 – The pilgrims exile to Amsterdam and Leiden for 12 years. They were welcomed by the people, but there were uncomfortable changes. The foreign language, poverty stricken, ungodly influences, industrial nation which the pilgrims were not trained to work in, and the causes they stood for were not consistent with the beliefs of the pilgrims.
Prepare for first Departure – July 22, 1620 – As they boarded the Ship Speedwell –A description of that scene was given by William Bradford in his journal later made into a book, Of Plimouth Plantation.
That night was spent ashore, "with little sleepe by ye most, "and early the next morning they and their friends boarded the Speedwell to exchange a last farewell, and truly dolfull was ye sight of that sad and mournfull parting, to see what sighs and sobbs and praires did sound amongst them, what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches peirst each harte." Falling upon his knees, and everybody with him, Pastor Robinson (who stayed behind) gave them his blessing and "with watrie cheeks commended them with most fervente praiers to ye Lord….and then with mutual imbrases and many tears, they tooke their leaves one of another, which proved to be ye last leave to many of them.
"So they left that goodly and pleasant city which had been their resting place for twelve years, but they knew that they were Pilgrims and looked not much on those things, but lifted up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country, and quieted their spirits….and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leave one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them."
July 22, 1620 – First attempt to depart, they left from Leiden, though they return after 15 days due to water leakage.
August 5, 1620 - Second attempt to depart on Mayflower & Speedwell – They left from Southampton, England but theSpeedwell, after a few days, was once again "open and leakie as a sieve."
September 6, 1620 – Third Departure – The pilgrims leave from Plymouth, England. This time the Mayflower goes solo.
THE MAYFLOWER – A small sailing vessel made to carry cargo, not a passenger ship. It carried things like cloth, hats and wine. The wine had leaked into the wood over the years making it a very "smelly" vessel. The Mayflower only sailed when there were significant winds filled the sails.
SIZE – 90' (about two long trailer trucks.)
1) Sleeping – Very crowded. 80 persons slept in a cabin made to hold 30 people. Imagine the snoring, coughing, seasickness, babies crying, diapers, expectant moms, body odor, no privacy.
2) Lack of Comfort – There was only one main cabin which was only five feet tall. The pilgrims were wet, dirty, sick, had lice and fleas and most of them wore the same article of clothing the entire journey.
3) Food – Ship's biscuits – dry as rocks (called "hardtack"). Dried beef and dried pork (also called salt horse), salted fish, cheese that quickly molded, dried peas and beans. Roaches, weevils, and maggots infested the hardtack so pilgrims preferred to eat in the dark so they couldn't see these little creatures. By dipping the hardtack into their coffee it softened the very hard bread, but weevils would be swimming in the top of the coffee afterwards. Expecting to have warm meals on board the pilgrims found this to be nearly impossible due to possibility of fire starting due to winds blowing flame towards sails. So warms meals were a rare exception.
4) Supplies – People could bring very little due to lack of space – one trunk per family. Included with supplies were farming and building tools, seeds, blankets, clothing, cookware, weapons, animals and each Pilgrim family brought a Bible along. This was the Geneva 1599 edition. Also a Bible box which stored the Bible. They would rely on the Scriptures most especially on the treacherous voyage and in the settlement of the new colony.
5) Relations with Sailors. The sailors, were harsh, swore often and found great pleasure in making fun of the pilgrims and their religious habits. They taunted them when the pilgrims got seasick referring to them as "glib-glabbety puke stockings." The sailors resented the daily prayers, hymns, and Scripture reading sessions that pilgrims faithfully held. But in the end the sailors had to admit that the Pilgrims were strong and brave.
6) Sickness – There was much sickness due to lack of food, good hygiene, constant wetness from the storms. The fresh water quickly contaminated so the only beverage they could drink was beer. One boy pilgrim and one of the saltiest and mean-spirited sailors died on the way over. One baby was born midway and was named "Oceanus."
7) Danger – Besides the terrible storms they weathered the main beam in the ship eventually cracked after one terrible storm. A very large bolt brought to anchor the cannons in the new world was used for repairing the beam and saved the ship from sinking.
November 9, 1620 - Land Ho!! 66 days later land is finally spotted. Rather than Virginia, the original plan, they arrive at the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown.
- "Saints and Strangers"
- "Stories of the Pilgrims"
- "If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620"
- "Of Plimouth Plantation"
- Other readings